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By: Jeffrey Ford
By: Jeffrey Ford

The Good, Bad and Ugly of Hotel Transylvania, Looper, Pitch Perfect and Won't Back Down

 

This September has been a dumping ground for movie releases. Not many have been of any real quality, outside of The Master (although I do have a soft spot for last week’s Dredd but that’s my own issues). It has become a struggle to comment on these films for which I have no feelings. Between football and work, I struggle to even find time to make it to the theaters and with this most recent batch; it’s become something I don’t miss.  But endure I will. This brief lull will soon pass as Oscar season will soon be upon us and my interest in what’s new will return.
 
Now comes 4 new films looking to plead for your cash. Can Dracula’s hotel take the top spot in this lukewarm month?
 
 
Dracula, who operates a high-end resort away from the human world, goes into overprotective mode when a boy discovers the resort and falls for the count's teen-aged daughter. *
 
The Good – From director Genndy Tartakovsky, one of the producers of the Cartoon Networks Powerpuff Girls, Samurai Jack, Dexter’s Laboratory and Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Hotel Transylvania stars a plethora of comic heavyweights, including Kevin James, Andy Samberg, Jon Lovitz, Molly Shannon, Chris Parnell and David Spade. One of the credited writers is Robert Smigel, the creator of Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog and SNL’s TV Funhouse, the precursor to the more recent Digital Shorts. It has the pedigree to be a funny movie. Here’s hoping it leads up to it.
 
The Bad – Adam Sandler is the main star as Dracula, and given his recent track record, I’m not impressed. The man who was brilliant in Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore has been slacking big time. This year’s That’s My Boy deserves special mention as it was easily one of the worst films I’ve seen this year.   He may just be lending his voice but I still question the decision to have him headline.
 
The Ugly – Is this hotel a subsidiary of the Hotel California? Because I would really like to check out and leave this time.
 
Hotel Transylvania is rated PG for some rude humor, action and scary images.
 
 
In 2072, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun awaits. Someone like Joe, who one day learns the mob wants to 'close the loop' by transporting back Joe's future self. *
 
The Good – This time traveling, sci-fi thriller reminds me of Terry Gilliam’s Twelve Monkeys, a film that I thoroughly enjoyed. Both have Bruce Willis in a starring role as a time traveler who ***SPOILER ALERT***runs into a younger, past version of himself. Instead of Brad Pitt there to greet him, this time, it’s Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Halloween: H20), playing his younger self. Gordon-Levitt has been putting in solid efforts this year, starring in The Dark Knight Returns and last month’s Premium Rush, a film I didn’t care for but he was not the reason.
 
The Bad – It’s being released in September, the second dullest period for new releases. It doesn’t scream confidence for its long tern confidence. 
 
The Ugly – If Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis get in a fist fight in this movie, will it end up like in Timecop where they melt into each other and become a pile of goo on the ground? Because that would be awesome.
 
Looper is rated R for strong violence, language, some sexuality/nudity and drug content.
 
 
Beca, a freshman at Barden University, is cajoled into joining The Bellas, her school's all-girls singing group. Injecting some much needed energy into their repertoire, The Bellas take on their male rivals in a campus competition. *
 
The Good – Anna Kendrick is not bad on the eyes and Rebel Wilson made me laugh. Also the leads (or at least their singing doubles) can carry a tune.
 
The Bad – I’m tired of these films. All it is is just a large screen version of Fox’s Glee. Between singing competitions and dance offs, I’m amazed that today’s youth can find time to actually go to school and do something productive… I just realized with that last statement how old I’m feeling right now. Maybe that should be the ugly.
 
The Ugly – In the trailer, Anna blasts the group for not singing songs from this century. Her break out moment is No Diggity, a Blackstreet tune released in 1996. Last time I checked, that was not from this century either.
 
Pitch Perfect is rated PG-13 for sexual material, language and drug references.
 
 
Two determined mothers­, one a teacher, look to transform their children's failing inner city school. Facing a powerful and entrenched bureaucracy, they risk everything to make a difference in the education and future of their children. *
 
The Good – Maggie Gyllenhaal and Voila Davis are the main draws of this movie about the failing education of the inner schools. Viola Davis skyrocketed to watch status for her Oscar nominated role in last year’s The Help and Maggie is usually reliable to put in great work.
 
The Bad – Stand and Deliver, Lean on Me, Dead Poet’s Society, Only the Strong, Summer School, Dangerous Minds, High School High. Those are just a few of the movies that popped into my head when I saw the trailer for this. This story has been told numerous times. It’s not new and typically follows the same track as all the previous films. If you want to see a movie about education, watch the documentary Waiting for Superman.
 
The Ugly – The state of our public education. Something really must be done.
 
Won’t Back Down is rated PG for thematic elements and language.
 
That will do for this week. Tune in next time when Liam Neeson kicks a dead dog. Until then, remember what Jack Handey from SNL’s Deep Thoughts says, ” If you go flying back through time and you see somebody else flying forward into the future, it's probably best to avoid eye contact.”
 
*all summaries taken from IMDB.com
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